What it’s like to be an author at the Kingston Writers Festival

I was invited to be on a panel at the Kingston Writers Festival yesterday with my pal, Bobby Rotenberg (Old City Hall, Guilty Plea, Stray Bullets) to talk about When Lawyers Turn to Crime. This, of course, was a reference to my mystery writing, not my new career in real estate. The panel was moderated by CBC Radio’s Eric Friesen who really kept things going.

Talk about a well-oiled machine! Before the panel, I headed up to the Author’s Hospitality Suite, which I found stocked with great food donated by Kingston restaurants and since I hadn’t eaten all day, that’s where I hung out for a while (so good). I was greeted, handed my author’s name tag and materials and very much made to feel at home.

Then festival photographer Bernard Clark took me into a side room for an author photo shoot. I was introduced to Eric soon after.

Bobby showed up about a half hour later, and we had a chance to chat about what Eric wanted to cover on our panel. I met my wranger, Joan, who got me a coffee, made sure I was looked after, and escorted me up to the panel which was hosted in the gorgeous Islandview Room of the Holiday Inn Harbourfront.

There were lots of people there (I counted around 150 or so) including my friends and fellow writers Ashliegh Gehl and Hilary MacLeod who drove all the way in from Prince Edward County just for my event (so sweet of them). My Kingston patrons, Judith Irwin and Richard Henriksen, who are astrophysicists at Queens, were in front row seats — the festival has this wonderful program of matching donors to authors to help offset costs. (After the event, Bernard took a photograph of the three of us as well.)

Bobby and I had a lot of fun talking about how we write, what we write and why we write and Eric was a great moderator. Afterwards, we were taken to the bookstore/signing room down the hall where a steady stream of readers dropped to chat and to have their new purchases signed. I’ll tell you, those Kingston readers love their mysteries! I think I sold more books than we did at Word on the Street in Toronto!

As soon as I was done, I was off to Judith and Richard’s lovely home for a reception with a few of their friends and family, incuding Merilyn Simonds, the organizer of this whole event and her husband, Wayne Grady, another author who, as it turns out, is represented by my agent, Anne McDermid. And then I drove back to Ottawa. All in all, it was a great day.

Thanks to all the many volunteers who made my visit to Kingston so enjoyable! Here’s a photo taken by Bernard Clark of the three of us on the panel .

The proceedings, by the way, were taped by a local TV station, but I have no idea when the show may air. Great fun — hope to do it again!

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